Managing HS | Healthy Living

Staying active and living healthily

Eating a balanced diet and keeping active has many benefits for people living with HS.8

Everyday tips:

  • Eat a balanced diet consisting of a variety of foods from the five main food groups9.

 >  Carbohydrates, e.g. whole grains, brown rice and yams

 >  Protein, e.g. eggs, fish and meat

 >  Milk and dairy, e.g. cheese and yoghurt.

 >  Fruit and vegetables.

 >  Fats, e.g. olive oil, olives and avocado.

  • Removing or restricting certain food groups may for some people also help improve your HS symptoms:

 >  Some people benefit from removing dairy foods, and food and drink made by, or containing brewer's yeast e.g. bread, yeast extracts, beers and wines5,10

>  Some people benefit from restricting your intake of refined foods, and those rich in saturated and trans fats, as these can promote inflammation e.g. cakes, biscuits and crisps11

People with other conditions (e.g. diabetes and heart failure) may need more tailored advice on their diet. Your doctor and/or dietician can advise you about the combinations of the five food groups that will work best for you, based on your health.

  • Talk to you doctor about what type of exercise is right for you
  • Simply regularly taking the stairs instead of the escalator or the lift can help make a difference
  • Activities with low physical contact, such as walking, Tai chi , yoga and swimming can help maintain a healthy weight12
  • If you feel well enough, being active is a great way to stay fit and de-stress, but take care not to push yourself too much at first. For alternatives ways to reduce stress and improve mindfulness take a look in the "Maintaining a Healthy Mind section"

Some people use smoking as an aid to try to cope with stressful situations.13 However, smoking has many negative impacts over health, and has been linked the severity of HS symptons.14 Talk to your doctor about stoppping smoking options avaiable to help you.

These articles might interest you


  1. Living with Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS); Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust; 2014-06-01
  2. Danby FW: Diet in the prevention of hidradenitis suppurativa (acne inversa); Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology; 01/11/2015;73
  3. Living with Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS); Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust ;2014-06-01
  4. How to have a balanced diet ; Accessed March 28 2019
  5. Advance tissue; Exercise Options to Consider During Wound Care; Accessed March 28 2019
  6. Cannistra C et al: New perspectives in the treatment of hidradenitis suppurativa: Surgery and brewer’s yeast; Surgery; 11/04/2013; 154
  7. Kiecolt-Glaser JK; Stress, Food, and Inflammation: Psychoneuroimmunology and Nutrition at the Cutting Edge;Psychosom Med;01/05/2010;72
  8. Wang S et al ;Hidradenitis Suppurativa: A Frequently Missed Diagnosis, Part 2: Treatment Options; Adv Skin Wound Care. 2015 Aug;28(8):372-80
  9. Ingram J; Hidradenitis suppurativa: an update; Clinical Medicine;01/02/2016;16
  10. Alikhan A; Hidradenitis Suppurativa; JAMA DERMATOLOGY PATIENT PAGE;01/06/2016; 152